“While You Were Out” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to whether it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
The Seahawks Soar to the Super Bowl… The Patriots Look Deflated
This week the Seattle Seahawks came back from a 16-point deficit to defeat the Packers, blowing away everyone and landing them in the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts—leading many to anticipate an exciting Super Bowl featuring the two best teams in the NFL. But all this was before “DeflateGate”—this week’s scandal when 11 of 12 of the Patriots’ footballs were found to have been deflated making them easier to throw and catch. Many critics, and even Colts players themselves, admit Patriots were the better team and would have won either way—but in my book that still doesn’t make it OK to cheat. It remains to be seen whether the Patriots will be forced to forfeit and let the Colts take their spot in the Super Bowl, but it’s fair to say such a punishment might finally make the Patriots stop their cheating ways. If we take away their Super Bowl, they may just learn their lesson.
The State of the Union Was This Week
President Obama delivered his State of the Union remarks this week. Unfortunately, not many people watch it anymore. Also unsettling is the fact that neither side on the political spectrum think it’s important to comment on the state of our national debt.
This week begins the Sundance Film Festival! Yes, that yearly occasion that adds a Sundance seal of approval to films we’ll be seeing in the year to come. I’m most excited about Last Days in the Desert, a film headlining actor Ewan McGregor and featuring cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki, who we know from his work in Gravity, The Tree of Life, and Birdman. Need I say more?
Fox is jumping onto the musical bandwagon with a live broadcast of Greaseplanned for sometime in 2015. NBC has already had (some) success with their live TV productions of the Sound of Music and Peter Pan, so it seems a trend has officially been born. Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars, Footloose) has been cast as Sandy, while Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Break) will take on the role of Rizzo. No word yet on who wants to step into John Travolta's dancing shoes as Danny Zuko. While I remain unconvinced that live broadcasts will ever be able to truly capture the magic of seeing musical theater in an actual theater, I am happy that TV’s powers that be continue their attempts to bring these great shows to a wider audience.
What To Name an Album When You Have No Ideas
Meghan Trainor’s album Title, featuring such hits as “All About that Bass” and “Lips Are Moving,” has officially replaced Taylor Swift’s 1989 as top-selling album on the charts.
'90s Pop Reunion
Yes! TLC and New Kids on the Block are teaming up for a tour that will satisfy all those nostalgic for the days of '90s pop. Now can we just add some En Vogue and Marky Mark? Then I’m totally there.
Serial Witness Sticks by Alibi
Big news for anyone who’s been following the intriguing Serial podcast: Asia McClain, Adnan Syed’s former classmate, came forward this week to say that she was in fact with Syed at the time of the murder.
Although this statement doesn’t prove or disprove Syed’s innocence, it does reveal discrepancies between McClain’s story and what ex-prosecutor Kevin Urick said happened. McClain, a potential alibi for Syed, wrote in a new affidavit:
“I never told Urick that I recanted my story or affidavit about January 13th, 1999… In addition, I did not write the March 1999 letters or the affidavit because of pressure from Syed’s family. I did not write them to please Syed’s family or to get them off my back. What actually happened is that I wrote the affidavit because I wanted to provide the truth about what I remembered. My only goal has always been to provide the truth about what I remembered.”
McClain says she wasn’t aware of how weak the state’s case was against Syed until listening to Serial. And she didn’t realize what Urick told the court.
Urick, on the other hand, told TheBlaze that Mclain’s new statement is “absolutely false,” that he never dissuaded her from testifying and she did claim she wrote the letters to appease Syed’s family.
It’s pretty clear that this case is far from over. A Baltimore City Circuit Court denied Syed’s 2010 appeal just this month. Syed appealed that decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, and we’re sure to see his defense team present McClain’s new affidavit in the case. And for that, we’ll keep you posted.
For Those Who Needed Reminding Not to Cut Corners...
This week it was revealed that Egypt’s King Tut's beard, which apparently fell off, was hastily glued back on by some maintenance crew, breaking museum’s preservation protocol and reminding the world how useless it is to cut corners at one’s job. Is it just me, or wouldn’t this be a cool premise on which to start another Mummy sequel with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz? I mean, we can all see King Tut’s not smiling.
How Body Image Has Changed Over Time
This week an insightful GIF went viral showing how body image standards in America fluctuate with each decade. A nice reminder to be ourselves and not feel the need to match the ever-changing currents of popular opinion.
Kate Moss, Unedited
We at Verily have always had a no-photoshop policy from the very start. But the trend to show real, un-airbrushed photographs of women in fashion shoots has been catching on in other areas of the media, and we’re happy to see it! This week Vogue Italiareleased a fashion feature showcasing un-touched photos of model icon Kate Moss. Some say Kate Moss is so beautiful she doesn't need airbrushing. I say, what's true for Kate is true for everyone.
“This Girl Can”
Have you ever felt self-conscious about exercising in public? If so, you’re not the only one; According to new research, fear of being judged for our appearance and ability is the leading reason why approximately two million fewer women than men are active. A British organization, Sport England, has launched an interesting campaign called “This Girl Can” to try and combat these body image insecurities and empower women to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle.
The series of videos show women of different ages, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes exercising, all jiggling and sweating—and, more importantly, loving what they’re doing, as the endorphins flow. It’s a glorious celebration of what women are capable of when we forget to care what we look like. We hope the ripple effects of this campaign cross the Atlantic. If you’re feeling inspired to get fit, why not join the Verily team in their endeavors to make 2015 their healthiest year yet?
He’s Got a Point
Jay Leno hasn’t always been my favorite comedian, but he recently proved he sure can be insightful. In a recent interview, Leno was asked whether he thought the Bill Cosby situation was sad. "I don't know why it's so hard to believe women," he responded. "You go to Saudi Arabia, you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25." Ouch.